Sonder is combining high-quality hotel service with the personality and differentiation of apartment living. On the back of a $135 million fundraise, they're on course to elevate the customer experience around short stays in an unparalleled way.
Homewings' data-driven design is a key lever to helping Sonder create apartments that deliver aspirational living and personalised nods to the neighbourhood of each building. Curating interior design for their ideal customer instead of selecting generic fittings is just one way in which Sonder is highlighting its progressive ethos and commitment to service excellence.
We caught up with Steven Haag - General Manager of Sonder in London - to understand more about the serviced apartment industry and how Sonder is aiming to redefine it.
Describe Sonder's mission for serviced apartments in the UK
Sonder is the future of hospitality. Everyone loves a personalised, home-sharing space but they also want a certain level of customer service. We sit at the intersection of home-sharing and hotels, delivering a bespoke experience but with a consistency of service to all of our guests.
Tell me about being a “deconstructed hotel”
Our model requires lots of different buildings that each provide unique spaces. Every Sonder is special and has different quirks and characteristics spreading them out throughout a city. This also allows us to be in all of the areas our guests want to be: Want somewhere perfect for shopping? How about our Oxford Circus units. For something a bit more on-trend? We have units overlooking Hoxton Square. No traditional hotel brand can deliver that diversity.
Toted as the “fastest growing sector in hospitality”, how do you see the serviced apartment market changing over the next 24 months?
Regulation will be a key driver, no doubt. Serviced apartments have existed in Europe for decades, but have only recently become a part of the regulatory dialogue. That dialogue will be key to changes coming over the next couple of years.
As General Manager, what are you most focused on right now?
I'm very focused on growing our unit count in London and the UK. Despite Brexit and to some extent because of the weakening of the pound, the market remains incredibly attractive for inbound tourists. Sonder will be in the UK in a big, growing way as we look forward to expanding our choices for our guests into significant scale in all of the neighbourhoods they would want to stay in.
What would be your advice to Airbnb hosts out there?
This may appear to be a very attractive option to push up your rental yields or make some extra money on the side, but nothing comes that easy. If you are a landlord, it pays to have an experienced partner like Sonder, where we already have top-end, experienced operations on the ground to protect your property and can lock-in a return.